(Tap footnote to read it. Old Testament quotations are underlined. "Love" with a caret ("^love") is agapé.1"agapé" The Greek words ἀγάπη (agapé, noun), and ἀγαπάω (agapaó; verb) are typically translated "love". However, unlike our English word "love" – which primarily speaks of affection and feelings – agapé centers on choice and behavior. It’s the "love" based on will, choice, behavior, and action; not feelings. (Feelings-based love is the Greek word φιλέω (phileó), which properly means "brotherly love/affection".) Thus, you could hate someone passionately and still treat him with "agapé". Agapé "love" is best understood as the pursuit of what is most beneficial to someone or something, regardless of the cost to yourself or the type of response received from the person or thing. It can also indicate a preference for someone or something over other things. )
Don’t Seek the praise of men
- “Now, beware not to do your righteousness in front of men in order to be seen1“be seen” The Greek word here is “θεάομαι” (theaomai), which refers to spectators who watch something, like a theater. In fact, theaomai is the root of the Greek word “θέατρον” (theatron); which both means “theater” and is the root of our English word “theater”. by them. Otherwise, you have no wages from your Father in the heavens.
- “Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, don’t sound a trumpet in front of you like the hypocrites2“hypocrites” the Greek word here literally refers to a “theater actor”. In those days, actors often wore masks during their performances and thus were (figuratively) a “two-faced” person; i.e. they say one thing and do another. Jesus was using some clever wordplay here. (see note on previous verse) do in the synagogues and on the crowded streets so they might be glorified by men. Amen I tell you; they trade away3“trade away” is a single word in Greek meaning “to have something, because far away from something else“. their wages.
- “But when you’re doing a charitable deed, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
- “so your charitable deed might be done in secret. And your Father – the One who sees in secret – will reward4“reward” the Greek word here literally means “to give back” or “return”; especially what is due in payment. you.
- “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love *standing to pray in the synagogues and on the corners of wide streets so they might be seen by men. Amen I tell you; they trade away5“trade away” is a single word in Greek meaning “to have something, because far away from something else“. their wages.
- “But when you pray, go into your inner room. And having shut your door, pray to your Father in secret, and your Father – the One who sees in secret – will reward you.
- “And, when praying, don’t prattle endlessly like the pagans, for they assume that they will be listened to in their many words.
- “Therefore, don’t become like them, for God your Father has seen what you have a need for before you ask Him.
The Lord’s Prayer
- “Therefore, you pray this way; “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.
- “Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven.
- “Give us our daily bread today,
- “and forgive us our debts,6“debts” the Greek word used here can also have the connotation of a sin or offense. just as we also forgave those indebted to us.
- “And don’t lead us into temptation, but rescue us from evil. [For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory through the ages. Amen.]
- “For if you forgive men their missteps,7“missteps”. The Greek word used here doesn’t quite mean “sin”. It’s the word “παράπτωμα” (paraptóma) which is also used in Ephesians 2:1 in the phrase: “dead in your ‘paraptóma’ and sins”. It carries the connotation of a “slip-up” with the strong implication – but not certainty – that it was unintentional. your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
- “But if you don’t forgive men [their missteps], neither will your Father forgive your missteps.
- “Now, when you fast; don’t become gloomy like the hypocrites. For they neglect their faces so they might be seen as fasting to men. Amen I tell you; they trade away8“trade away” is a single word in Greek meaning “to have something, because far away from something else“. their wages.
- “When you’re fasting however, anoint your head with oil and wash your face,
- “So that you might not appear as fasting to men, but to your Father in secret. And your Father – the One who sees in secret – will reward you.
Treasure in heaven
- “Don’t store up your treasures on the earth where moth and eating consume, and where thieves break in and steal.
- “But, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven; where neither moth nor eating consumes, and where thieves don’t break in or steal.
- “For wherever your treasure is, your heart will be there also.
- “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, if your eye isn’t warped,9“eye isn’t warped” According to some sources, this is an idiom which means “to be generous”, in the sense of giving to others/charity. This makes excellent sense when you consider the context. The phrase is literally “is not warped”, with “not warped” being a single Greek word that literally means “without folds” (Thayers). It carries a similar moral connotation of “upright”, in the sense of not being crooked, bent, evil, etc. While “isn’t folded” would be more literally correct, it would be confusing because we don’t associate “folding” with crooked morals. However, we do associate “warped” with them; hence the translation choice here. your whole body will be full of light.
- “But if your eye is evil,10“eye is evil” according to some sources, this is an idiom which means “to be stingy”. i.e. hoarding your wealth in an unhealthy way. your whole body will be full of darkness. Therefore, if the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness?11In Greek, an interrogative pronoun (similar to our word “how”) is used, making it a question. Many translations end this sentence with an exclamation point, which makes it a statement rather than a true question. Jesus may have intended it as a rhetorical question, but it’s hard to be certain from the text. Therefore, it has been translated as a question here.
- “No one can serve as a slave for two lords. For either he will hate one and he will ^love the other, or he will be devoted to one and will despise the other. You cannot serve as a slave to God and the treasure you trust in.12“the treasure you trust in” is a single word in Greek, with that exact meaning.
Don’t be anxious
- “Because of this I tell you: don’t be anxious about your life, what you might eat or what you might drink; nor about your body and how you might clothe yourself. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes?
- “Look at the birds of the sky, that they don’t plant, nor harvest, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are?
- “And who among you is able to add one hour to his life by being anxious?
- “And about clothes; why are you anxious? Study to fully understand13“Study to fully understand” is one word in Greek. It means to understand something by studying it thoroughly. This word is related to the Greek word for “disciple”, but has the added force of an intensifying prefix. the lilies of the field; how do they grow? They don’t exhaust themselves with work nor do they spin.14Spinning is an ancient process of turning animal fibers (hair) into thread, which was then woven into fabric, which was made into clothes. Spinning was a very labor intensive process before modern machinery.
- “But I tell you: not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
- “And, if God clothes the grass of the field like this – which exists today and tomorrow is thrown into a furnace – won’t He much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
- “Therefore don’t be anxious, saying: what will we eat? Or, what will we drink? Or, how will we clothe ourselves?
- “For the nations diligently seek all of these, for your heavenly Father *knows that you need them all.
- “But seek first the kingdom [of God] and His righteousness, and all these will be added to you.
- “Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble on its own.
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